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Williams v. LeBlanc

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 24, 2019

LARRY WILLIAMS
v.
JAMES LEBLANC

         SECTION: “J” (1)

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JANIS VAN MEERVELD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner, a Louisiana state prisoner, filed this federal application seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the following reasons, it is recommended that the application be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         In 1973, petitioner was convicted of aggravated rape under Louisiana law for an offense he committed at the age of 17.[1] Based on that conviction, he was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.[2] On March 31, 1975, the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed that conviction and sentence.[3]

         In 1976, petitioner filed an application seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. His application was denied by the federal district court, [4] the denial of relief was affirmed by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, [5] and his related petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court.[6] Moreover, while those federal proceedings were pending, petitioner also filed with the state district court a motion to correct an illegal sentence, [7]which was likewise denied.[8]

         In 1982, petitioner then filed an application for post-conviction relief with the state district court.[9] That application was denied.[10]

         In 1984, petitioner filed a second federal habeas corpus application. That application was also denied.[11]

         In 1989, petitioner filed another state application for post-conviction relief, [12] and that application was likewise denied by the state district court.[13] His related writ application was also later denied by the Louisiana Supreme Court.[14]

         In 1991, petitioner filed with the state district court yet another application for post-conviction relief, [15] which was again denied.[16]

         That same year, petitioner also filed a third federal habeas corpus application. Although that application was initially granted by the federal district court, [17] the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals thereafter reversed that judgment and ed that habeas relief be denied.[18] The United States Supreme Court then denied petitioner's related petition for a writ of certiorari.[19]

         In 2007, petitioner filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence with the state district court.[20]The court denied both that motion[21] and a related motion for reconsideration.[22]

         However, on May 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids the sentence of life without parole for a non-homicide offense committed by a juvenile offender. Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010). Based on that decision, petitioner filed another motion to correct an illegal sentence with the state district court in 2011.[23] The court granted that motion in part and resentenced him to a term of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole on October 24, 2012.[24] He did not appeal.

         On May 16, 2016, petitioner then filed another motion to correct an illegal sentence with the state district court.[25] That motion was denied on August 1, 2016.[26] His related writ applications were then likewise denied by the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal on November 4, 2016, [27] and the Louisiana Supreme Court on May 11, 2018.[28]

         On January 25, 2019, petitioner filed the instant federal application seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[29] The state filed a response arguing that the application is untimely, [30] and petitioner filed a reply.[31] For the following reasons, the undersigned finds that the application is indeed untimely.

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) includes a statute of limitations for petitioners seeking federal habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Specifically, the AEDPA provides:

A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of -
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

         Subsections B and D of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) obviously do not apply here because petitioner does not allege the existence of either a state-created impediment or a newly-discovered factual predicate.

         As for Subsection A, that subsection provides that the statute of limitations commences on the date a petitioner's state court criminal judgment becomes final. For AEDPA purposes, a state court criminal judgment consists of the conviction and the sentence, and the judgment is therefore not considered “final” until both the conviction and the sentence are final. See Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 156-57 (2007); Scott v. Hubert, 635 F.3d 659, 665-67 (5th Cir. 2011).

         With respect to determining the date that such a judgment becomes “final” for the purposes of the AEDPA, the United ...


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